Every time your street is plowed, your garbage, recycling or green bin is collected, visit a park or conservation area, catch a bus, borrow a book from the library, you are witnessing your tax dollars at work. Municipal budget decisions set the funding for important infrastructure, programs, services and facilities we depend on to maintain our quality of life.
A municipal budget is a policy and planning document that outlines our city’s priorities, and is a balancing act between often competing priorities – what we can afford and providing a high level of services to citizens.
This year, the budget focuses around health, well-being, growth and prosperity of our community.
The 2016 tax operating budget is focused on investing in the Hamilton community while ensuring long-term financial sustainability. The budget is also focused on growing the non-residential tax base. There are clear themes that have emerged from this year's budget.
Tax competitiveness and financial sustainability
- Together with its focus on making strategic investment, this Council has also held top of mind the importance of long term financial sustainability.
- This year’s tax property tax increase of 1.7% is the second lowest among our municipal comparators.
- There continues to be increased funding to reserve accounts to help maintain our strong credit rating and improve financial sustainability.
Social and Health investments
- Investing in emergency response services including adding two new ambulances to our Paramedic service.
- $6.7M includes cost of all Fire/Paramedic equipment, vehicle replacements and two new vehicles
- More affordable housing, supporting our 10-year Housing and Homelessness Action Plan goal of everyone having a home.
- $1.5M capital and $3.5M operating
- Ensuring ongoing investment in long-term care for Hamiltonians seeking those services and supports.
- $2.3M for both capital and operating
- Public Health is providing a $200,000 grant to the Neighbour To Neighbour Centre to allow it to access matching funds from Community Food Centres Canada.
Transit and Transportation
- Investments in the maintenance and improvements of roads.
- Completion of the Upper Red Hill Valley Parkway project that connects Stone Church Road to Rymal Road East this year - $11.5M from 2015 budget
- Enhanced transit services and service levels – Ten Year Transit Strategy.
- Purchasing 11 more buses this year to add to our existing fleet - $6.9M
- Fourteen buses were purchased in 2015 - $8.4M
- Continued focus on a variety of transportation options and ways to move about the city, including the LRT.
Supporting business growth
- Maintaining a continued focus on Open for Business.
- Supporting building and development, including open spaces and the West Harbour development.
- Action taken by Council to date has once again seen the City surpass $1B worth of building permits in 2015.
- This marks the fourth year in a row where building permits have reached $1B.
There are various components to the budget.
The Operating Budget funds ongoing financial obligations and costs to provide programs and services to Hamilton citizens.
Some municipal services for your tax dollar
- Police Services
- Fire Services
- Parks, Forestry, Cemeteries
- Waste Management Services
- Public Health
- Paramedic Services
- Administrative Services
Operating expenses needed to deliver services and programs to citizens
- Employee salary/wages/benefits and pension
- Material and supplies
- Services from other agencies
- Contractual costs – rent and various office or operating equipment
- Facilities costs, including utilities, repairs and maintenance
- Financial transactions, such as interest
Revenue sources which help to fund and deliver services and programs to citizens
- User fees
- Licence and permit fees
- Property tax revenue
In 2015, the City of Hamilton received $5.0 M in revenue from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) which has been used to reduce property taxes. This amount has been planned to reduce the 2016 property tax.
The Capital Budget provides for investments in infrastructure and capital assets such as constructing, buying or maintaining assets including roads, sidewalks, bridges, buildings, vehicles, equipment and land.
The Rate Budget funds costs for water, wastewater and storm programs that support Hamilton's ability to provide clean, safe drinking water to its residents, as well as protect the natural environment through wastewater treatment and storm water management.
Water, wastewater and storm water charges are based on residents’ water usage or volume. For information on water and wastewater/storm billing, visit Horizon Utilities.
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